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Leon Wildes (center) with sons Rabbi Mark Wildes (left) and Michael Wildes at MJE dinner
Leon Wildes (center) with sons Rabbi Mark Wildes (left) and Michael Wildes at MJE dinner

Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, with Michael Wildes in his New York office
Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, with Michael Wildes in his New York office
 
Stefania Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009, with Michael Wildes in his Englewood office
Stefania Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009, with
Michael Wildes in his Englewood office
 
Ximena Navarette, Miss Universe 2010, and Michael Wildes at the Las Vegas pageant
Ximena Navarette, Miss Universe 2010, and
Michael Wildes at the Las Vegas pageant
 
Michael Wildes and son Josh with Pele
Michael Wildes and son Josh with Pele
 
Leon and Michael Wildes with Yoko Ono at Rock Hall of Fame 2009
Leon
and Michael Wildes with Yoko Ono at Rock Hall of Fame 2009 
MANHATTAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE
Foremost Outreach Group
Honors Michael Wildes

I
T was a family affair as Manhattan Jewish Experience held its 12th annual dinner in March at the Museum of Jewish Heritage with Amy and Michael Wildes as guests of honor.

Rabbi Mark Wildes, founding director of the wildly popular outreach organization, paid tribute to his brother Michael as their father, Leon Wildes, beamed with nachas [joy].

Michael recently completed two terms as mayor of Englewood, N.J. He is now a managing partner at his fatherís office, Wildes and Weinberg, a leading immigration law firm in Manhattan.

Leon is known, among other accomplishments, for representing John Lennon in the 1970s when the FBI harassed him and Nixon tried to deport him for his opposition to the Vietnam War. Leon successfully secured a Green Card for Lennon, allowing him to stay in the country.

Lennonís wife, Yoko Ono, remained friends with Leon ever since. At Michaelís bar mitzvah, she called to apologize that she couldnít attend as her son Sean was suffering from an earache.

Michael and Mark founded Manhattan Jewish Experience in memory of their late mother Ruth. Yoko was an early supporter.

"Yoko has donated over the years," Michael said. "She was close to my mother."

Michael also represented the last three Miss Universes, as well as soccer legend Pele. He got Pele a visa in March, enabling him to work with the New York Cosmos. Two months ago he got a Green Card for Sarah Brightman, wife of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

At the dinner Rabbi Mark Wildes also honored Elaine Gold, Michael Dodes, Rochel Leah and Ariel Deitcher, and Jessie and David Brand.

Founded in 1998, MJE has reconnected hundreds of young people with their Jewish heritage. It was also the catalyst for more than 85 marriages.

 

 
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